At university one of the keenest consumers of our Jewish society's educational offerings was a practising Christian who would attend everything from Hebrew lessons to in-depth Talmud classes. I once asked him what the learning was like at church. He looked at me surprised, "We don't do learning".
The two Torah readings for this Shabbat almost always fall on the anniversary of the Six-Day War.
This coincidence is deeply significant, for the Six-Day War marks the entry of the "Greater Israel" ideology into popular discourse, while this Shabbat's twin Torah readings declare the opposite: that no one may claim total ownership of the Land.
It was like Chicago gang warfare during the prohibition, said the JC beneath the front-page headline "Knives out as kosher meat war hots up". When rival shochetim squared up to each other in the abattoir in 1986, it showed just how fractious disputes in the shechita trade can get.
As we prepare to celebrate 67 years of Israel’s independence next week, religious Zionists will use particular forms to show their appreciation for the state. There will be special synagogue services. Many congregations will recite Hallel. The restrictions of the Omer period will be suspended to make way for parties, dancing and barbeques.
The story of Pesach is of the journey from slavery to freedom, from suffering in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land. And colour is added to that story by the account of the Exodus itself. The Israelites left in such haste, they did not have time to let their bread rise and so they carried the dough on their backs and as a result we get matzah.
Many Israelis were disappointed when Rabbi David Stav failed to win election as the country's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi last year. There had been high hopes of him prising the institution from its Charedi grip and introducing a more modern Orthodox outlook.
Partnership services have existed in some places in Israel and the United States for a while, but have only recently appeared in the UK. They offer Orthodox liturgy and traditional seating - men and women are separated by a partition - but differ in that women, as well as men, lead parts of the prayers and read from the Torah.